According to a recent issue of ”Stern” (the German journal), we all have a source of inner strength from childhood on. But when we are adult, the access may become closed and we lose contact with our inner needs and feelings. While the focus of attention for animals often is on their strength; in human beings, in contrast, the focus often seems to be on the weaknesses – the lack of strength, which is unfortunate, especially when the self-esteem is unstable.
When life in a complex world is challenging, we may feel the push for more self-assertiveness, but also a stronger need for time-out and rest. We may wish for a compass that helps our decisions. And we may want to develop the capacity to accept failures and keep a stable mood. We may feel the need for more security and inner strength when we are uncertain about the further development regarding personal matters, as well as economics and politics.
How to get more inner strength seems to be an appropriate question. Why do some persons in demanding situations obtain personal growth while others resign and get depressed? There is no lack of books on self development and personal growth: discover yourself and your potentials – a crisis is a new chance, etc. But books like these don’t seem to meet everybody’s needs. Resilience researchers have tried to identify factors that make some persons come through tough situations without problems, while others feel weakened and sometimes even destroyed. How resilient a person is will be tested during challenges in everyday life, with family, partner and colleagues. While some persons naturally seek social support in difficult situations, look for solutions, and have a feeling of inner strength and security, others do not. They tend to do the opposite – isolate themselves, try to cope alone, or push away or deny the difficulties.
How do we get inner strength? Is there a simple recipe? Different paths are practiced in search of the inner strength. Nearly 50 years of experience with Acem Meditation has provided evidence for favourable effects which are related to the steady practice of the technique. A central element of the technique is the free mental attitude – which is an open, including attitude: we accept everything that comes to our mind and exclude nothing. It is a simple principle which is usually easy to practice – although sometimes a bit challenging, depending on what comes to our mind – whether it is easy for us to accept it or not.
When we practice the open, free mental attitude, we train ourselves to tolerate everything that comes to our mind, and to accept it. This attitude may gradually be transferred to daily life and help us deal with the challenges we meet. It is better to observe and accept what is in our mind than to exclude, deny or repress it. Then we no longer need to push anything away from our conscious mind, or be afraid of taking a look at our driving forces, psychological issues and motives. We become more able to observe what is present, and to tolerate it. It is about the freedom to live our own life with an open attitude. When we are conscious about ourselves, we are also more genuine, stronger, and more authentic. When we are more aware of how we feel, we will also be more empathic and more able to know how other people feel.
The idea of resilience reminds me of “irreversible calm” – that is an expression I read once in a book, which seems to fit something I have sometimes felt after attending retreats, specially deepening retreats. On one level one comes out of the retreat more aware of the emotional difficulties but on another level one also feels stronger, in some sense, even invincible. But I realize later that the calm is not irreversible, it slips away between your fingers, leaving you thirsty for more.
Wow, irreversible calm! With such high ideals, it is easy to understand that the seemingly irreversible turns out to be in the end quite reversible, and that things may be felt to slip away between one’s fingers. Still, in my experience this does not mean that nothing has changed. Other much more silent changes take place over time – almost imperceptibly, but still with a long-term impact on our lives.
very well said Halvor,
Kaif i think you need to reset your expectations :)